Paranormal, Theories of the
Alternative Interpretations
Image from Bernd Helfert

There are a number of alternative positions regarding the existence of occultism, magic, siddhis, and non-ultratetch-generated supernormal powers in general. These vary according to polity, clades, and memeticities in the civilized galaxy and beyond. While there are a great many options, including many proposed by transapients that are incomprehensible to subsingularity sophonts, the four most common can be distinguished as follows:

Scepticism or Physicalism: There is no unambiguous and repeatable evidence for powers of any kind. Whilst there are reports and anecdotes galore, none have ever been confirmed. Everything else given a mundane explanation, can be explained as subversive nanite cybertelepathy, and so on. This is the position of a great many physicalist sects and ideologies, and is widely held in a great many civilizations. Critics charge that this stance selectively ignores or reinterprets a huge amount of factual material.

Supernaturalism: This goes in the reverse direction by acknowledging the literal existence of God or Gods, Spirits, and other beings of religion. This is a very popular option among many inhabitants of the galaxy.

High Level Psionics: There are some who believe that in addition to the laws of the physical universe there are new undiscovered laws that enable the development and utilization of tremendous and completely controllable, non-ultratech, psi ability, perhaps through gengineered modifications -element. So far there is no evidence this is the case.

Esotericism: A very wide field that includes ch'i energy, healings, Out of Body experiences, visions and reports of gods or daimons, unusual coincidences and synchronicity, sporadic experiences of psi, and so on. While reports of these and other supernormal powers date all the way back to the rise of sophonce among both terragens and xenosophonts, they have rarely been proved under falsifiable conditions, and are generally only attained after long discipline in yoga and other techniques of psycho-spiritual transformation. Often those who have developed these powers ("siddhis") are reluctant to use them, very often the powers are not deliberately sought but are a side-effect (even a distraction) of the spiritual quest.

Low Level Psionics: Assuming the existence of esotericist powers, a number of sophonts and especially transapients have been interested in tweaking biont genomes, or in developing unusual ai templates, that it is claimed enhance natural psychic abilities and/or supernormal siddhis (assuming they exist). The Harbinger experiment is a classic example. There is disagreement as to the validity or not of this.

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 19 December 2001.